Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (1.86 MB)

Fracture: The reception of the 'other' author in Aotearoa

Download (1.86 MB)
posted on 2021-05-18, 23:12 authored by Michalia Arathimos
The fracturing of cultural identity is a common trope in postcolonial literatures. Traditional binaries of 'self' and 'other' are now complicated by cultural hybridities that reflect the intersectionality of migrant identities, indigeneity and the postcolonial national 'self'. Where the binaries 'self' and 'other' do not hold, creative forms like the novel can go some way towards exploring hybrid and 'other' experiences, both as a reinscribing and reimagining of the centre, and as a complex 'writing back'. This thesis investigates the complex positioning of the hybrid or double-cultured individual in Aotearoa in the last forty years. While postcolonial models have been used to expose the exoticisation of the 'other' in fictional texts, Part One of this thesis goes a step further by applying these models to real authors and interrogating their representations as static objects/products in the collective 'text' of media items written about them. Shifts in 'our' national literary identity can be traced in changes in responses to 'other' authors over time. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the first part of this thesis proves that there are differences in the media‟s portrayal of six Māori and 'other' ethnic authors: Witi Ihimaera, Keri Hulme, Kapka Kassabova, Tusiata Avia, Karlo Mila and Cliff Fell, beginning with the 1972 publication of Ihimaera‟s Pounamu Pounamu and ending in 2009 with Tusiata Avia‟s Bloodclot. Part One of this thesis mixes media studies, postcolonial literary analysis, and cultural theory, and references the work of Ghassan Hage, Graham Huggan, Margery Fee, Patrick Evans, Mark Williams, and Simone Drichel. Part Two of this thesis is comprised of a novel, Fracture. While Part One constitutes an investigation of the positioning of the 'other' author, Part Two is a creative exploration of two double-cultured and dispossessed indigenous characters' lived experience. The novel follows a Greek-New Zealand woman and a Māori man who go to a rural pā to protest fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. While the first part of the thesis explores the positioning of the „other‟ outside of the white self, the novel aims to portray the effects of such 'othering,' on the individual and demonstrate how the historical/political event can be a real experiential locale for the 'other'.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains All Rights

Degree Discipline

Creative Writing

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280114 Expanding knowledge in Indigenous studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

International Institute of Modern Letters


Wilkins, Damien; Williams, Mark